I can't write about romance—not to you.

Once, we happened upon each other

in a restaurant, both intending to eat alone.

In that half-light, you muttered

that your parents are better people

than you could ever hope to be.

We took separate checks, and you left

while I was in the bathroom.


It’s wrong to mention love, anyways.

If I collected our halting conversations

in my palms, they would catch

a stray breeze and fly out the window

or fall between my desk and the wall.

Exposing them to light might destroy

them entirely.


All I can write

is the definitive poem about

the splinter in your index finger.

I tried to extract it and you winced.

Does it hurt? I expected you to pull away.

Yes. But keep going. You laid

your hands in mine.


I don’t know about chemistry,

but I know something about need,

about a shard worming itself deeper,

and not having a spare hand

to halt its progress to the vein.


Our youth wants belly laughs

ringing over glassy ponds,

stripping down to our skin

and splashing into the dazzle,

but maybe it’s enough

to eat in silence, warmed

by the tiny miracle of trusting

someone else’s steadiness.


Sex + Dating, PoetryTimothy H